Gifts to Celebrities Pay Off in Star Power at This Year's Academy Awards

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VIP gift bags worth thousands will win an Oscar for ingenuity at the Academy Awards events this year, as promo items go home with the celebrities to raise money for charity.

Because great items often come in small packages, small and unknown companies will get mega-exposure this year at the Academy Awards by using a cutting-edge marketing strategy that works on the premise of traditions we’ve all observed since our first kindergarten birthday gathering.

Once called “party favors,” so-called “swag bags” now represent one of the most effective tactics in 21st century guerrilla marketing campaigns, thanks to enterprising companies that specialize in going home with the stars, via free gifts given away at the fashionable A-List parties. At the upcoming EXTRA Awards Lounge reception for Oscar nominees, scheduled during the run-up to the Academy Awards, jet-setter guests will receive a bag of fee-free goodies worth $12,000 that has gifts inside including a complimentary hour of private jet flight and VIP tickets to the Indy 500. But the relatively new Denver based clothing company Good Girl Brand (its products mostly sell by word of mouth at ) will be along for the ride, via a sexy “bling” tee shirt also given away in the swag bag. If one of the recipients dons the tee for a photo opportunity, it could be the advertising opportunity of a lifetime for the start-up sportswear line.

Dressing up for the Hollywood event alongside the heavy-hitters like DKNY makes sense to Good Girl Brand owner Kelly Anguilm, who invested her marketing dollars for the chance to get straight into the dressing rooms of stars like Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron, and Keira Knightly.

The conventional – and equally expensive – approach of traditional ad campaigns only promises exposure, not connection to the intended customer. By funneling her advertising budget through “swag baggers,” she guarantees herself an opportunity to get global exposure in the blink of an eye, or the flash of a paparazzi camera, if the recipient really likes the gift. The Good Girl Brand product gets to tag along to the event, which places it into one of the brightest spotlights in the world. If the tee shirt is pulled out of the gift bag, the cat will be out of the bag for Kelly’s line of sportswear and she could land lucrative sales.

“The EXTRA Awards Lounge presented an excellent opportunity for my clients to showcase their products to this year’s nominees,” said Julie Kenney, president of Jewels and Pinstripes, the gift bag company Anguilm chose to publicize her products. “We have a wonderful assortment of fabulous products and are sure that everyone who receives our gift bag will be thrilled with its contents.” An autographed gift bag, with all contents included, will be auctioned online and all proceeds will be donated to Race to Erase MS. The gift bag can be found at, beginning on March 3rd. Jewels and Pinstripes has raised more than $175,000 for charity since its inception in 2004, and “swag” recipients include Muhammad Ali, Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tom Hanks, P. Diddy and former President George H. Bush.

Developing “personality brands,” not just product brands, gives retailers the edge by providing consumers with a sense of affiliation with celebrity, the way people buy the basketball jersey of their favorite NFL player and pay extra for the emotional feeling of being an honorary member of the team. Beatles haircuts had the same effect, long before marketing companies figured out how to capitalize on trendsetters. Nowadays the strategies are found everywhere – when the nation goes to war, auto makers showcase new cars with names and designs that remind us of military equipment. Fashion models wiggle down the runways of Paris and Milan, wearing army camo patterned bikinis and necklaces made to resemble soldiers’ “dog tags,” but plated in sterling silver.

When Hollywood stars first showed up at the Academy Awards wearing lapel ribbons to show their support for AIDS research, the ribbon became a status symbol as well as a fashion statement. Now it is the visual equivalent of a household word, and there is a whole genre of lapels, wristbands, and other accessories based on the same concept.

But what many viewers don’t notice while focused on the lapel, the wristband, or the old-fashioned cleavage, is the bag on the arm. Not the purse, mind you, but rather the swag. And if Kelly Anguilm’s audition goes as planned, she and her Good Girl Brand may be walking down the red carpet soon with a noticeable “swagger.”

The Good Girl Brand is a trendy, fashion forward collection of sportswear, for women of all ages. More information can be found at


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